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How to conduct a best interview

On this web page you will find the outline and information on the recruitment tips that we would like to share you with. We are still in the process of widening our service portfolio and improving the quality of service provision.

In addition to selection interviews, you will be asked from time to time to conduct three other types of interviews. One measures the progress of individuals in your company; another takes place when an employee leaves your company. The third type of interview is rarely planned, but is an excellent opportunity for gathering intelligence about your industry and competing companies. The three types of interviews are:

  • the performance-evaluation interview
  • the exit interview
  • the information interview

The performance-evaluation interview. Job-performance appraisal usually is conducted on an annual basis. Some companies conduct performance reviews semiannually. Many experts agree that evaluation offered informally on a continuing basis as an ongoing communication tools is the most effective type. Proper use of this lighting rod can go a good distance toward balancing the company¡¯s need to develop productive employees with the employee¡¯s need for constructive, objective feedback.

The interview portion of any performance appraisal should consist of a thorough review of the employee¡¯s goals for the period, examine the degree to which they were accomplished, and establish goals for the subsequent period. Of course, this presupposes that clear goals exist and have been agreed to by then employee. Such a critical event¡ª for both employee and employer¡ª requires both thorough preparation and a careful prioritization of objectives. It is important to suppress whatever discomfort you have over ¡°judging others¡± so that your feelings don¡¯t adversely affect the outcome of the meeting. (Keep the interview in perspective: you are judging performance, after all, not the entire person.)

Preparing for the evaluation interview

  • Review all relevant documents to familiarize yourself with the employee¡¯s total performance. Keep a folder on each employee in which you can file work samples and notes related to the employee¡¯s record.
  • Schedule all performance reviews at least on week in advance to allow employees¡ª as well as yourself¡ª time to become fully prepared.
  • Prepare an agenda for the meeting, and share it in advance with the employee. Possible sequence:
  • 1. statement of objectives;
    2. employee self-assessment (achievements, problems, professional growth paths);
    3. manager response;
    4. causes of any problems explored by both;
    5. objectives and plan for next review period set by both.
  • Keep the review system simple. It should be easy for managers to use and easy for employees to understand.
  • Use evaluation interviews to give positive as well as negative feedback for more effective career growth.

Conducting the appraisal interview.

  • Hold the meeting where you and the employee can sit face-to-face¡ª without a desk between you, or on the same side of the desk. Attempt to minimize your ¡°authority figure¡± role; this will improve the free flow of information. Set a tone for an open discussion.
  • Select for discussion only those accomplishments and problems that will make a real difference in the evaluation. A long list of trivial behavior problems will probably not be absorbed, and will discourage improved performance.
  • Focus feedback on behavior rather than on the person.
  • Focus on the amount and kind of information an employee can use, rather than on the amount of information you want to give.
  • Focus feedback on behavior relating to specific situations, rather than on abstract characteristics.
  • Get employee commitment to performance-improvement goals. Get the employee to state how the goals will be accomplished.
  • Be succinct, objective, and clear in all writing connected with performance reviews.

Avoiding appraisal-interview pitfalls:

  • Ask others who have observed the employee to share their observations with you.
  • Create a nonthreatening self-assessment climate; assure employees that the interview will be closer to a discussion than a court proceeding.
  • Be sure you are aware of any recent changes in personnel, scheduling, or project composition that could make the job easier or more difficult than you originally thought.
  • Be ware of personal biases that may affect our evaluation. Try to dismiss any generalizations you may have developed regarding individuals or groups, so as not to over- or underrate.
  • Try to allow for individual differences in your ratings of employees interviewed in tandem. Don¡¯t judge a competent (but average) employee by the same standards as a superstar in the evaluation session just concluded.
  • Rate honestly, rather than ¡°right down the middle¡± to avoid appearing either tough or soft. Boosting low ratings hides problems; reducing high ratings kills self-confidence and motivation.
  • Utilize reviews on a continuing basis as guidelines for coaching. Give regular feedback on progress to assist in goals reassessment.

Exit interviews. The days of lifetime employment in a single company are, with very few exceptions, over. What this means is that sooner or later just about everyone moves on¡ª some of their own volition, others under duress of various kinds. Either way, it is important that no one leave your company without being interviewed by his or her manager, or a representative of the human resources department. Those who have resigned mist be replaced, a process that costs the company not only dollars and time, but often morale as well.

Those who have been severed from your organization, on the other hand, must be told so. This is done either just before or as part of the termination interview.

Voluntary departures. Anybody who leaves the employ of your company can tell you something that may make less likely the loss of other people. Unfortunately, you are not likely to hear about any problems if you are the manager to whom your recent defector reported. You may have been the cause of the departure¡ª but a person who reported to you is not likely to admit it on the way out the door. This is natural. After all, few people want to burn bridges or indict a boss.

Most employees that depart voluntarily are reluctant to say anything negative in the exit interview, and are likely to give as the reason for their departure ¡°a better opportunity.¡± It is your job to get through this veneer and unearth possible personnel or organizational problems that may be contributing to high turnover.

The creative director at a West Coast division of a large advertising agency had made life miserable for his second in command for almost a year. One Monday morning she found her office taken over by the art director, with her furniture crammed into his former¡ª and smaller¡ª office.

Although she enjoyed her work and did it well, she reluctantly concluded that it was time to leave, and accepted a lateral position with a Boston agency. Several years later she ran into the president of her former division at a trade sow. He said he would have promoted her to creative director had she stayed, having long since fired the nemesis boss. She then mentioned the circumstances under which she left, and both were surprised at the way the world worked. Would a thorough exit interview have changed things? Maybe not, but it would have shed light on an extremely unhealthy work situation, and perhaps saved the jobs of others victimized by the tyrant boss.

One way to avoid situations like this is to volunteer to conduct exit interviews as a courtesy for departing employees who report to other managers, and ask that these managers do the same for you. Another solution is to turn the whole job over to our human resources department.

Here are some ways to get the most out of the assignment and help to reduce turnover in your company. You¡¯ll have to be at your best to get value from exit interviews. The mind-set of most people in this situation is that they are there only to be coerced out of their decision, which results in varying degrees of defensiveness.

Vicki LaFarge, a management professor at Bentley College in Boston with a few softballs: ¡°I see you¡¯ve been here six years. What kind of assignments have you had?¡± Then, says LaFarge, once a rapport has developed, zero in more closely on the job itself and its pluses and minuses. For example:

  • ¡° What did you like most about working here?¡± ¡° What did you like least?¡±
  • ¡° If you were a consultant to this company, what would you recommend?¡±
  • ¡° What was it like working for Randy Williams?¡± If the answer is vague or euphemistic:¡± On the grounds that nobody is perfect, what would have made Randy a better boss, in your opinion?¡±
  • ¡° Where are you going to be working?¡± ¡°How does the job sound?¡± (a good way to obtain intelligence about your competitors.) ¡°How did you hear about the position?¡± (a way to learn which executive recruiters or employment agencies are raiding your company).

To get the most out of an exit interview, probe for specific details after each answer¡ª without passing judgment on the response. At the end of a nonproductive meeting, leave the door open for follow-up conversations. The emotional and psychic distance that three to six months away from the company can give the departing employee may make follow-up discussions much more productive.

The termination interview. Every manager dreads having to fore an employee, whatever the circumstances that have brought about the firing. The emotional trauma associated with termination, in fact, sometimes causes managers to delay the act much longer than is appropriate, with negative consequences that include missed deadlines, lost sales, and reduced morale. Mishandled terminations can also have legal, public relations, and business consequences.

The decision to terminate an employee should be made only when everything has been done to preclude it. People identified as marginal performers in previous evaluations should have been targeted for special attention¡ª transfer, counseling, or other opportunities to correct the problem.

Terminations fall into three categories, with important distinctions among the three:

1. ¡°For cause¡±¡ª stealing, misrepresentation, unethical or dangerous behavior
2. Poor performance¡ª failure to meet objectives, master required skills, or perform assigned tasks
3. Job elimination¡ª merger or acquisition, regional or local economic conditions, business failure

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